The Society for the Conservation of the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage

Summary and acknowledgment



Villagers of various ages were very forthcoming and we may see some of them here helping us to
carry up equipment to the church.  SCECH  ©


Our five intense days of examination in order to start the Yimrihane Kristos conservation and education project was most successfully and then not just the investigations from strict professional point of view. Equally rewarding for us was all the generosity, co-operativeness and whole-hearted reception we experienced as a team and as organization. But above all we are happy about the common insight by all parties concerned of the urgent need of taking measures and the unreserved acceptance of SCECH’s planned conservation work at this site from the local community and responsible priests as well as from the regional and national ecclesiastical and civil authorities in Ethiopia. Our examination report (that later on will be published at our data base) and the calculation of time necessesary in order to get financing are almost ready and fund-raising will start in the middle of this month.

March 19-20 Professor Shiferaw Bekele – a leading historian in Ethiopia and a spokesman for our project – has invited us to participate in a workshop at Addis Ababa University in order to discuss and to launch the Yimrihane Kristos project in public. At this one he himself and other Ethiopian colleagues (not yet finally decided which) will lecture. The main lecturer from SCECH’s part will be its President, Samuel Rubenson, Professor of Church History at Lund University with specialization on the History and Theology of Byzantine and Oriental Christianity and co-editor of Acta Aethiopica, Dr. Inger-Lise Syversen, Associate Professor of Architecture at Chalmers University with responsibility for Architectural Conserva-tion and long-term experience of architectural conservation and sustainable de-velopment in East Africa. Dr. Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Associate Professor of Architecture at Chalmers University with specialization on building construction and Mr. Lars Gerdmar, Restorer and Icon painter, Independent scholar on Byzantine and Oriental Christian Art with specialization on panel and wall painting will present more practical disposed lectures describing the present state of the buildings and pictorial program of Yimrihane Kristos with reference to the preliminary examination. An article that closely will inform about the contents of this workshop and what this one resulted in will be published on this website later on.

Mr Mengistu Gobezei at one of the instructive meetings he had with the employed priests as well as
with the villagers that participated. SCECH  ©


Our gratitude is first of all directed to Lund Mission Society that funded this examination and secondly to friends and colleagues in Addis Ababa for advice and support, i.e. to Professor Richard Pankhurst and his wife Rita, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, to Professsor Shiferaw Bekele, Addis Ababa University and to the Director General Yonas Desta and his staff at Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage. For practical assistance with cars, lighting, generator, ladders and many other things and for taking care of us during the days in the capital many thanks goes to our Ethiopian-Swedish friend Gebriel Woldemariam and to our contact person in Addis Ababa Tadesse Girmay for their common tirelessly arrangements of all kinds of things and with necessary networking with persons and institutions in the capital as well as in Lalibela. The same gratitude is now also extended to Merkeb Merkuria, Curator at the IES Museum in Addis Ababa and former secretary to His Holiness the late Patriarch Abuna Paulus for assistance in our contacts with the Patriarchate and the acting Patriarch, His Grace Abune Nathanael.

A pleased Abba Welde Qirqos, to the left flanked by the village’s administrator and a guard and
to the right by Karl-Gunnar Olsson and Tadesse Grimay.  SCECH  ©


As for Yimrihanne Kristos, Lalibela and the province of Lasta a thousand thanks to the priests of this parish and especially to the Vicar, Reverend Abba Welde Qirqos, the villagers and the administrator of the local community, to the head of the local ARCCH’s Cultural Heritage office in Lalibela and to the ARCCH’s supervisor Tenaw Getashew, Addis Ababa – who was together with us during the whole stay – to the representatives from the regional ARCCH office for Cultural Heritage of Lasta in Bahar Dar and the others – all and everyone included – who supported and assisted us and made this time so great and memorable. The continuous interchange during these days, the meetings and discussions about the issue of conservation and heritage management and the elevating coffee ceremonies down in the village made us familiarized and friends with one another – a privelege and joy for us coming to your country from the cold north. Last but not least we would like to direct our greatest gratitude to Mr Mengistu Gobezei, the pious priest, the MA archaeologist and the advocate as well as contact person for this project of conservation in his own home village.

Our friend and colleague and  tirelessly working contact person and cicerone Mr Mengistu Gobezei and
his sisters in the village of Yimrihane Kristos.  SCECH  ©


Please find soon link to a more informal photo gallery in progress remembering all involved from the acting Patriarch, Abuna Nathanael in Addis Ababa to the kids of Yimrihane Kristos, moments of joy and work during our time in Ethiopia, October 2012.



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